German-Israeli woman abducted from rave party confirmed dead, family say

Shani Louk was among hundreds of victims at an outdoor music festival near Kibbutz Urim

Barney Davis
Monday 30 October 2023 12:46 GMT
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German tourist dances at festival before Hamas kidnap her

The family of a tattoo artist feared kidnapped during the Hamas massacre at an Israeli rave have been informed of her death.

Shani Louk, 23, a German-Israeli woman who was believed to have been abducted to the Gaza Strip during Hamas’s October 7 onslaught was previously thought to be alive but in a critical condition.

Her mother recognised her distinctive tattoos and dreadlocks as horror videos emerged of a partially naked body inside a pick-up truck being paraded through the streets by Palestinian gunmen.

On Monday, members of Louk’s family said they received a tragic letter from the Israeli Zaka rescue service saying her remains had been recovered and identified.

Her family initially thought she was alive but injured when she was snatched from the music festival but now believe she was killed on the same day, possibly shot in the head, German broadcaster RTL/ntv said.

“At least she didn’t suffer,” her mother Ricarda Louk said.

Shani Louk has been declared dead by family and Israel’s foreign ministry

“Unfortunately we received the news yesterday that my daughter is no longer alive.”

Her sister Adi also confirmed the death of Shani in a post on Instagram.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of my sister, Shani Nicole Z.L. [may her memory be a blessing], who was on October 7, 2023, at the party massacre in Re’im.”

“I am really sorry to report that we have now received news that Shani Nicole Louk has been confirmed murdered and dead,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog told Germany’s Bild newspaper.

“What we saw on the Gaza-Israel border goes far beyond a pogrom. We saw a slaughterhouse.”

Israel’s foreign ministry confirmed the death on social media, writing: “Shani who was kidnapped from a music festival and tortured and paraded around Gaza by Hamas terrorists, experienced unfathomable horrors.

“Our hearts are broken.”

The circumstances of her death were not immediately clear.

A family source said that a part of a body had been found which was matched to Louk’s DNA.

Her body has not yet been returned from Gaza, according to The Times of Israel.

Clips on social media had shown Ms Louk dancing and singing with her friends just hours before Hamas militants crossed into Israeli territories and opened fire on partygoers.

According to German paper DW, Ms Louk was trying to flee the Nova party when she was captured by Hamas terrorists, who took her into Gaza, where she was filmed being beaten.

Ravers at the Supernova festival in Negev Dester, southern Israel, flee Hamas militants (main image); Israeli soldiers remove bodies from the kibbutz in Kfar Aza (inset, top) as relatives of the victims mourn (inset middle); Palestinians grieve for victims of airstrikes on Gaza (inset, bottom)

Her mother Ricarda Louk had previously told German outlet Bild of her hopes that Shani was injured but alive.

“We now have evidence that Shani is alive but has a serious head injury and is in critical condition. Every minute is critical.

“You have to act quickly and get Shani out of the Gaza Strip!” she declared in a message directed at German officials. “We shouldn’t argue about questions of jurisdiction now!”

Ricarda Louk, mother of Gaza hostage Shani Louk, holds a portrait of Shani

The Tribe of Nova festival, held in the semi-wooded fields outside Kibbutz Re’im, just a few miles from Gaza, was one of the first Hamas targets.

Videos show militants arriving on trucks and motorcycles, with gunmen charging into crowds and firing on people as they tried to flee into the fields.

Israeli communities near the festival also came under attack, with Hamas gunmen kidnapping people — soldiers, civilians, the elderly and young children — and killing scores of others.

The carnage stunned Israel, which had not seen bloodshed like this for decades.Videos show militants arriving on trucks and motorcycles, with gunmen charging into crowds and firing on people as they tried to flee into the fields.

Israeli communities near the festival also came under attack, with Hamas gunmen kidnapping people — soldiers, civilians, the elderly and young children — and killing scores of others.

The carnage stunned Israel, which had not seen bloodshed like this for decades.

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